Finding connection through isolation
A new house guest
In February, my husband, Pete, and I agreed to foster a dog with separation anxiety. This was new territory to us, but because I worked from home, the local shelter asked if we would be willing to take this on.
Mayflower, a 7-year-old mastiff with an overall mellow temperament, suffered panic attacks when left alone for any length of time. Being in a temporary home would provide insights into how to find her the most suitable long-term living arrangements. Open to the experience, Pete and I moved ahead, and Mayflower came to our home on March 17.
Embracing the unexpected
At that exact time, the Covid-19 pandemic was swirling, and stay-at-home orders were issued. Everyone’s world was impacted in some way. But the horrible global health crisis became a stroke of good fortune for our work with Mayflower. We didn’t have to worry about leaving her home alone because we were sheltering here round the clock, too!
Mayflower settled into new routines fairly quickly. She was comforted by our constant presence, and we found having her around was also a nice diversion from the chaos happening around us. The irony of this “new normal” was unfolding. Mayflower was benefiting from the time together, while humans were starting to experience an opposing sensation: isolation.
Connection through isolation
In homes around the globe, workers have turned guest bedrooms, dining rooms, and basements into make-shift office spaces. For many, colleagues are now across town versus sitting in the neighboring cubicle. We are separated physically, but as time has passed, something unexpected is occurring. I believe the connections between us all are deepening, rather than eroding.
Instead of meeting in a stark conference room, we are now entering the homes of our co-workers for our conversations. We meet children, pets, and see the decor, all providing new and personal insights into the person we may not have known before. Prominent speakers address conference attendees from their kid’s playroom; famous artists are belting out performances that inspire and thrill us right from their living rooms. We are invited to see behind curtains that were always closed before. There’s connection through isolation.
The pace of life has slowed, giving us more time for meaningful to-do’s. Rather than spend time in the car for our commute, we can take a walk in nature. Instead of shopping, we can schedule a Zoom hour with extended family. There is less pressure to carry out established routines, and it’s easier to find time to just be.
Ultimately, that’s exactly what Mayflower wants. She yearns to enjoy a quiet spot in the sunshine, being near someone she knows and cares about. She wants connection. I believe that’s what we all want. And I believe there are many ways to find it, even when we may have some distance between us.
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